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Connecticut teen shot by police during traffic stop dies

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. - An 18-year-old Connecticut man shot by local police while allegedly driving toward an officer during a traffic stop died Monday, state police said.

Anthony Jose Vega Cruz, of Wethersfield, “succumbed to his injuries” suffered Saturday, police said in an emailed statement sent just before 11 p.m. The announcement came hours after two dozen activists held a protest outside Wethersfield police headquarters, demanding answers including police dashcam video of the shooting.

“We want the video,” Vega Cruz’s nephew Davon Colon, 17, said. “We want to see what happened to my uncle. Are we going to allow innocent people to be killed?”

John Selders, co-founder of Moral Monday CT, which helped organize the protest, questioned the Wethersfield officer’s use of deadly force.

“We get gunfire for simple traffic violations,” he said.

Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran talked to the protesters briefly, but said there is little he can say since state police took over the investigation.

“This is a tragedy all the way around, and I really do feel sorry for the family,” he said.

Wethersfield police tried to pull Vega Cruz over at about 6 p.m. Saturday because his license plates didn’t match his car, and they thought it may have been stolen, according to police accounts.

Vega Cruz’s family said the car was simply not registered.

Police say Vega Cruz crashed into a cruiser and then drove toward an officer on foot, who opened fire. The teen was struck in the head, according to his family.

An 18-year-old woman who was in Vega Cruz’s car was not charged, police said.

The officer who opened fire is on paid leave, as is protocol in police shootings, Cetran said. The officer’s name has not been released.

The Wethersfield shooting was the second police shooting in Connecticut in five days. Hamden and Yale University police officers fired on a car in New Haven, around 30 miles (50 kilometres) south of Wethersfield, while investigating reports of an armed robbery April 16. A 22-year-old woman was struck, but survived. That case also remains under investigation.
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